THE FUTURE LIFE
Scripture: Matthew 24:27, 30; 1 Corinthians 15:51–57; Revelations 1:7, 6:8, 87:6–13, 19:11–20
Memory verse: Revelation 22:5
"And they will reign for ever and ever."
Before class obtain three clay flowerpots. Place one in a plastic bag. Tap it gently to break it into several large pieces. Keep the pieces in the bag. Repeat the process with the second pot, trying to break it in large pieces also. Then glue the large pieces of the second pot back together. Keep the third pot intact. Plan to cover each pot with a cloth until you are ready to use it. Also bring a shallow pan, some soil, and a container of water.
In class, uncover the broken pieces of the flowerpot. Ask the students to identify what it used to be. Say, “This flowerpot is useless as it is. It would be nice if we could fix it so it could hold dirt and a plant. If we glued it together it might look something like this.” Uncover the pot you have glued together. Place the pot in a shallow pan, pour some dirt into it, and then pour a little water into it. Point out that the dirt and water leaks out the cracks. Then uncover the third pot and say, “It would be nice if we could make a new pot. It would not leak, and we could plant a flower in it.” Demonstrate that the third pot will hold dirt and water.
Draw a circle on the chalkboard. Say, “Our planet is a little like the broken pot. There is a lot of pain, sickness, and injustice in our world. We try to fix it by making more laws, but it is never “all better,” just as gluing the broken pot did not work. We really need a brand-new world. We cannot fix the world, but Someone is going to make a new world one day.”
Ask: “What are some problems people of the world face?” (Write student responses on the chalkboard. Answers can include the following: starvation, war, cruelty, lack of education, injustice, slavery, murder, theft, etc.)
Most of the people of the world experience some of these problems sometime in their lives. Most of them have no hope of ever having a better life. They live their lives sadly and then die. However, a person who lives for and loves Jesus does not need to feel hopeless.
Ask: “Why can a Christian be joyful even when circumstances around him are anything but good?” (Allow responses.)
The Christian has something other people do not have. He has the hope that because he is God’s child, he will one day live in a place without problems. The best part is that our hope is in a sure thing—it will happen!
Jesus is Coming Back
Jesus promised His followers He would someday return for them. The happenings surrounding Jesus’ return are called the end-time events. The events cover a long span of time. It will begin with an exciting event Christians look forward to—the Rapture.
Ask: “What is the Rapture?” (Allow responses. Ask a student to read 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. Review last week’s study.)
The Great Tribulation
The Rapture of the Church will be followed by a span of time the Bible calls the Great Tribulation. Christians will no longer be present on earth and Satan will have freedom to deceive many people.
A man the Bible calls the Antichrist will come to power and rule the world. He will seem to be a great man. Even the Jews will think of him as someone to be honoured, but there will be much trouble and sorrow. A new world money system will be put into effect. Buying and selling will only be possible by using an identification number that will be stamped on the hand or forehead of each person. The Bible calls this the “mark of the beast.” No one will be able to buy or sell anything without this mark. But no one who takes this mark will be able to go to heaven. It will be very hard to be a Christian during this time.
The Book of Revelation describes terrible judgements that will fall on the earth during the tribulation. A third of the sea will turn to blood. A third of the sun, moon, and stars will be darkened. Hail and fire will burn a third of the earth. It will be a time of great trouble and sorrow for the world.
Judgement Seat of Christ
While the tribulation is happening on earth, in heaven will be the judgement seat of Christ. This is where all Christian will be judged. As these will be people who are saved and lived for God, they will not be judged and condemned to hell as a nonbeliever would. They will be judged by the works they did while on earth, receiving rewards for their labour.
Battle of Armageddon
Back on earth, at the end of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will use his power to gather a great army to try to rid the earth of all belief in God. Suddenly Jesus will return in great power and glory with the armies of heaven. This is called the “Second Coming.” The whole world will see Him and will mourn. The armies of Jesus will fight the armies of the Antichrist. This battle will be known as the Battle of Armageddon. The forces of the Antichrist will be defeated, and he will be thrown alive into the lake of fire.
After this a wonderful event will take place. (Ask a student to read Revelation 20:1–3.) Satan will be bound for 2,000 years. He will not be able to tempt man to sin. Jesus will become ruler of the world. His saints will rule with Him. This will be a time of great peace and prosperity for the world. The Bible calls this the Millennium. The word millennium means 1,000.
Ask: “What changes do you think will take place when Jesus is King?” (Allow several minutes for discussion.)
The Bible tells us there will be a big difference between what the world is like now and what the world will be like when Jesus is the King.
When Jesus rules the world, there will be peace. Factories that make weapons for war will no longer be necessary. Nations will not live in fear of being invaded by neighbouring countries. Dictators will not be able to abuse and enslave people, Not only are the people who live during the Millennium going to be able to live in peace, the animal kingdom will be affected. Wild animals will become tame. They will no longer attack and kill each other or endanger people.
Nature will also undergo a change. The weather will improve. Soil will become more fertile. Crops will grow well. Life during the millennium will be ideal. People will live long, full lives. Satan will not be able to tempt people. Nations will be at peace.
Ask: “Do you think everything will be perfect with such conditions?”
Although everything in the world would make it possible for people to love and serve God, not all will choose to do so. In spite of the blessings they experience under the rule of King Jesus, some people will still rebel against Him because of their own selfishness.
(Ask a student to read Revelation 20:7–10.) At the end of the thousand years Satan will be set free for a short while. He will go throughout the whole world and deceive many people. Those who were serving Jesus only because they had to will probably choose to follow Satan. He will gather a great army to march against God’s people.
Ask: “What will happen when Satan’s armies surround God’s people?” (Allow response.)
Fire will come down from heaven and destroy the army.
Ask: “Then what will happen to Satan?” (Allow response.) Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire forever.
Finally, all the sinners of all time will stand before the Great White Throne of God to be judged. Everyone who did not accept Jesus as Saviour and whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer forever.
Ask: “What will happen to those who have believed on Jesus and given their lives to Him?” (Allow students to respond.)
The Bible says that God will create a new heaven and a new earth. A New Jerusalem will be part of heaven. John the apostle saw a vision of the New Jerusalem. What will the city look like? (Allow responses as the students read Revelation 21:10, 18–23.) The New Jerusalem will be more beautiful than anything we have ever seen here on earth. Everything about it will be pure and lovely, made of the finest materials.
What will heave be like? (Ask volunteers to read Revelation 21:1–4 and 22:1–5.) Heaven will be everything we need and want.
Ask: “What things will not be in heaven? What do you look forward to most about being in heaven?” (Allow responses.)
Remember to stay ready for Jesus’ return so you can enjoy this perfect place for all eternity.
Accepting God’s Word
Everyone wants to go to heaven. Only those who asked Jesus to forgive their sins will be there. We do not know when Jesus will return, but we can know we are ready. Explain the plan of salvation and invite the students to receive Jesus. Pray with each individually. If you are aware that some of the students are experiencing problems in their lives, remind them they can look forward to a life with Jesus where there will be no sorrow or pain.
Ask: “If we know of a Christian who is having a hard time, how can we help them feel better about the future?” (Let volunteers respond, then have a student read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 aloud.)
Lord, with great expectation I approach You today. I come with a request and know that You will grant it. My prayer is that messengers will be sent to the Tukulor of Senegal to declare the good news of salvation.
I am confident that You will hear and answer this prayer because it is what You want too. First Timothy 2:4 clearly expresses your desire for the Tukulor: "God our Saviour…wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
Currently, not one church is in their area and not one known believer is living among them. The Tukulor need Your supernatural intervention! Thank you for selecting and sending messengers to them to present the truth of the gospel.
Your Word teaches, "that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14). I have no doubt about Your plan to introduce the Tukulor to Your Son and His gracious provision of forgiveness of sin. Thank you for hearing and answering this urgent prayer. Amen!
Remember: THE FUTURE LIFE
Memory verse: Revelation 22:5
"And they will reign for ever and ever."
1. Jesus returns and believers are taken to heaven.
2. There follows seven years of tribulation on earth.
3. Jesus returns to earth with all the believers to reign for 1,000 years.
4. A major battle occurs; the devil is defeated and cast into hell; the earth is cleansed and a new heaven settles upon it.
5. The believers are with Jesus throughout eternity—forever.
Pray for Thousands of Tukulor to Come to Christ.
Study 16 | Jesus Says Go/We Believe | africaatts.org/go-teach